That's the phrase used by the highly esteemed
Dr. Frank Fenner
in describing the grossly unsustainable lifestyles that we humans of the past few hundred years have chosen for ourselves. His
NY Times obituary
put it this way in 2010:
Professor Fenner's views on the environment were not cheerful. Sheer numbers and rapacious consumption of resources, he predicted glumly, would condemn the human species to the same fate as the smallpox virus.
Speaking of smallpox, Dr. Fenner is eminently credible when it comes to that topic. It was he who led the global coalition that systematically drove that deadly virus to extinction three decades ago. Notice his name listed first on this 1988 book.
What's Next for Us? Just as his team drove the smallpox virus to extinction, it is human activity that is now driving our own species in that direction. That's why his obituary ended with this chilling conclusion:
"Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years," he told the newspaper The Australian in June of 2010. "A lot of other animals will, too. It's an irreversible situation. I think it's too late."
Back to "rapacious" - "Sheer numbers and rapacious consumption of resources." He was talking about our out-of-control population explosion coupled with a global economy that depends on perpetual growth in a world of finite resources.
Definition of rapacious:
aggressively greedy or
Sadly to say, since his death in 2010, we have ignored his wisdom. In terms of our "sheer numbers," we've added another 700 million people in the past eight years while our
"rapacious" consumption of resources continues to accelerate unabated.
I should add that Dr. Fenner is one of the eight "big picture" scientists featured in my recent article:
Many thanks. A great idea! It shows how, given intelligence and goodwill, we can create something like a
paradise on earth - certainly a sustainable society. The question is, as E.O. Wilson says, why haven't we done
In fact we haven't done it anywhere, not just in the US. Wilson fears that there is something in the
soul of man that is not right - of this crooked timber no straight thing was ever built - so we are bound to screw
up, just as we let Trump screw up the Paris climate agreement.
Best wishes, Peter
Bottom Line. Our dismal lack of progress, or even interest, in re-inventing the way we live leads me to conclude that our future is dire - unless there is some kind of huge emergency to galvanize our feckless leaders into action.
Award-winning journalist Dahr Jamail believes that the inevitable real estate financial crisis in South Florida might jolt us into action when it comes to mitigating and adapting to the devastating effects of climate change. He describes what is happening in an eleven minute video featured in this earlier BSB:
So what can you do?
You can circulate this BSB with prominent journalists, elected officials and thought leaders you admire.
Speaking in NYC on Oct. 17.
Do you have friends in or near New York City? If so, please tell them that I will be delivering a "big picture" presentation (with emphasis on hope) at a venue near Penn Station, beginning at 6:30 pm and including a pot-luck dinner. Click here for details.
Until next time, just remember...
Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.
here are a few related "Bite-Size Blogs" (BSBs) from the past few weeks:
J. Morris (Jim) Hicks
CEO, 4Leaf Global, LLC
Looking for Opportunities to Speak.
Since 2016, my research, writing and speaking has been focused on the sustainability of our ecosystem and our future as a species. With a primary emphasis on food choices, I call it the "most important topic in the history of humanity."
After all, what could possibly be more important to humans than the survival of our species?
(now contains 5-minute video of me speaking in Tucson)
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